April 12, 2024

Ardent Health opts for new employment conditions and employee experience with Quantum Health and Imagine360

National healthcare system Ardent Health Services recently announced that they have introduced a new health benefits offering for 23,000 Ardent employees and their dependents. The offering comes from an industry-first partnership between Quantum Health and Imagine360, leveraging Quantum Health’s navigation and care coordination services platform and Imagine360’s best-in-class network and price protection. Quantum Health and Imagine360 developed this program specifically for healthcare system employees. The two companies previously announced a partnership to support self-insured employers across the country.

While most healthcare system partnerships focus solely on patient care, Quantum Health and Imagine360 are taking on a different challenge by revamping Ardent’s employee benefits infrastructure. It comes at a unique time. With the nurse shortage expected to limit primary care capacity by 20% by 2025, healthcare systems are focusing more heavily on employee retention. According to Health Affairs, employer-sponsored health insurance premiums will increase 7% in 2023, which is higher than previous years.

Zane Burke, CEO of Quantum Health, and Jeff Bak, CEO of Imagine360, in response to email questions, emphasized the importance of the partnership and what it means for their respective companies and the industry as a whole.

Q: Can you start by describing how the partnership came about?

Jeff Bak: Let me start by saying that this unique partnership reflects Ardent’s innovative approach to employee benefits. Healthcare systems are often the first place we bring loved ones with critical health needs, but in addition to providing care, they play a critical role as some of the largest employers within our communities. As such, health care systems are facing many of the same challenges we hear from self-insured employers across the country. Employee health care is often a company’s second largest expense, but most organizations have no idea why their costs keep rising or the quality of care their employees receive. Healthcare systems have additional and unique needs that must be taken into account.

Zane Burke

That’s why Ardent came to us looking for an alternative to traditional managed care. They wanted to maximize clinical quality and cost-effectiveness for their 23,000 team members. In addition, they were looking for partners who could help them think differently about how they support other employers in their respective markets. We worked directly with the Ardent Health team to create an entirely new offering with world-class healthcare navigation and cost controls.

Daan Burke: I would add that one of Ardent Health’s key pain points was the fact that their employees often sought care outside of their own healthcare system. That’s one of the unique needs that Jeff was referring to. We saw a great opportunity to leverage Quantum Health’s Healthcare Warriors and proprietary Real-Time Intercept technology to direct Ardent employees to the highest quality providers within the Ardent Health network. This ensures the best quality and cost-effective care for Ardent’s employees, while providing a better healthcare experience for members.

Q: How did the market react to the news?

Daan Burke: Employees’ expectations for health benefits have increased and they are looking for a healthcare experience that is as convenient and streamlined as other facets of their lives. We have seen a growing demand from clients like Ardent to deploy navigation across all populations to ensure members and their families receive the most appropriate, cost-effective care. With Imagine360, we can address the unique pain points for Ardent while delivering a great employee experience. I’ve already received calls from other healthcare systems and other self-insured employers interested in replicating this model. They all share the same challenges and realize the unique nature of this partnership.

Jeff Bak: While Ardent is the first national healthcare system to offer Imagine360 to its employees, we already work with some of the nation’s most prominent healthcare systems to create preferred relationships for our members. In our ongoing conversations with healthcare systems, we have found that they fully appreciate the fact that employers are looking for alternatives to traditional managed care solutions offered by the major healthcare providers. The Ardent news indicates that healthcare systems are now looking to alternatives like Imagine360 for their own employees. It’s a big opportunity for us.

Q: What’s next for your respective organizations?

Jeff Bak: The unfortunate reality is that while most Americans have health care coverage, one in four American adults has health care debt. It’s almost unthinkable. Insurance is meant to protect us. How can millions of insured Americans suffer from health care debt?

Jeff Bak

That’s because our health care system forces employers to foot the bill, which ultimately impacts American workers. The reality is that traditional carriers are not motivated to negotiate fair health care rates on behalf of employers. Today, employers pay more than 2.5x Medicare for the exact same health care services.

Rising costs have forced nearly a third of commercially insured Americans into high-deductible health care plans. While the average American worker earns an annual salary of $60,000, we often see deductibles of more than $7,000 per year. This means that in the event of a medical emergency, people will have to pay more than 10% of their annual salary in medical bills. This is simply not feasible for most families, which is why so many Americans are forced into medical debt.

The Ardent news indicates that healthcare systems are now looking to alternatives like Imagine360 for their own employees. It’s a big opportunity for us.

At Imagine360, we believe that all Americans deserve affordable access to high-quality health care, and our personalized health plan saves employers between 15 and 30% on health care costs. Our customers can then reinvest these savings in their workforce by offering additional benefits such as: lower deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, premium vacation days, free primary care benefits, multiple years without an increase in healthcare costs and more. Ultimately, we help companies manage a great health plan experience that better protects employees. The results are astonishing.

Every day, our members tell us they sleep better at night knowing their health plan meets their needs. We’re working hard now to ensure that all Americans have the same peace of mind.

Daan Burke: Today, Quantum Health is honored to support more than 3 million members and more than 500 employer customers with our industry-leading navigation and care coordination platform. Industry data indicates that nearly half of employers now believe that the introduction of navigation and care coordination tools will help employees more easily navigate the healthcare system, provide preventative physical and mental care, manage chronic conditions and help in controlling the increase in medical costs. This increased interest from employers in deploying healthcare navigation heralds a new era of employer benefits design, as employers strive to balance complexity, cost, employee satisfaction and flexibility to more effectively support their workforce and compete for talent.

Quantum Health’s leading position in the navigation market and ability to partner with other innovative companies like Imagaine360 will enable us to enable employers to customize their benefits programs based on their employees’ growing healthcare experience needs. They will also achieve the best possible results and returns and better align costs and the true value of healthcare.

Photo: olaser, Getty Images

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